Recently in the agricultural world, a debate has arisen over small dairy farmers using bovine growth hormone (BGH), a genetically engineered hormone used to increase the production of milk in cows. There are several economic and health problems caused by the use of this hormone. While some think that the genetically engineered hormone was created out of necessity, it was in fact created for the financial gains of the dairy farmers who ignore the health problems associated with it.
In most instances the only farmers who have enough money to buy the bovine growth hormone are large dairy companies, but a small percentage of small-scale farmers can afford the expensive hormone. Most small-scale farmers are not financially able to purchase BGH or are against its use. With more and more people using BGH, there will be an increase in milk production. With this added supply, the world's surplus will increase. One would assume that, with the increase in production, the price would drop. In fact, prices are going up. This is because of how expensive BGH is to use, plus these farmers have to treat their cows with costly antibiotics to prevent and cure disorders caused by the hormone.
The cows are hurt the most by bovine growth hormone and some people are scared of the potential problems that the hormone may cause in humans. Cows treated with BGH suffer from udder infections and other complicated disorders. While the cows are on this antibody, their milk is unsafe for human consumption. If sufficient time is not allowed, the antibiotic could still be in the milk. If humans drink enough of this milk, their bodies may build up a resistance or immunity to the antibody.
People cannot tell if they are drinking milk tainted with BGH because labeling is not required. Some large grocery chains have met this problem by refusing to deal with farmers who treat their cows with BGH. If the hormone causes disease and disorders in cows, who knows how humans might be affected. These risks and health problems are not worth the money that a few people look to gain through BGH's use.
Bovine growth hormone provides no real benefits to society. It does cause health problems in cows and it is yet to be determined what the hormone does in humans. One solution could be to stop using BGH while the issue is thoroughly reviewed and examined by a qualified group of scientists. In my opinion, the bovine growth hormone should be banned because it is unnecessary. The world has enough milk and farmers seemed to get along fine when they weren't using the hormone. ^
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.